Worcester Wolves came up against one of the British Basketball League’s perennial contenders, the Leicester Riders, on Friday at the University of Worcester Arena.
Despite an initially hopeful performance, Wolves were eventually overwhelmed by the superior depth of Riders’ squad, succumbing to a 71-94 defeat.
Worcester surprised their visitors by blitzing to a 28-15 first quarter lead. But by half-time Leicester had already overturned the advantage, going on to thoroughly sweep aside their hosts by the close of play.
Coach Paul James confirmed what had taken place, saying:
“We had the better of matters early on but once Leicester turned up their defence we got away from what had got us our lead. We took a lot of bad shots and paid the price.”
It was an all-action start for Worcester. Ashton Khan stole the ball and slotted home the opening score. Trayvon Palmer did likewise, Brandon Parrish floated home from outside and Khan produced a circus spin to round off a stunning 28-12 advantage.
It was 35-21 after a double of baskets from George Beamon six minutes before half-time. However, a rapid-fire trio of Leicester three-pointers in less than a minute suddenly switched the momentum.
A time out was called but Riders’ captain Tyler Bernadini sank his second triple and once JR Holder did the same it was all-square at 44-44.
Leicester’s Pierre Hampton notched the first seven points of the second half, taking his side into a 55-46 lead. It took nearly four minutes for Worcester to reply.
A combination of wayward shooting and brittleness in defence now meant there was no way back for Wolves. Leicester’s recent re-signing Trayvonn Wright found successive open paths to the hoop for easy dunks to set the seal on the defeat.
Palmer and Beamon led the home scorers with 17 and 14 points respectively.
Worcester travel to lowly Manchester Giants this Sunday, (tip off 5pm), hoping to get back to winning ways.
James added: “Sunday is pretty much a must-win match for us. We need to put today to one side and make sure we perform for the full forty minutes in Manchester.”
Match report by Colin Taylor
Image credit Razorlight Imagery